Brazilian star Bebeto joins Ittihad club

By Khaled Qadi, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Thu, 2002-09-05 03:00

JEDDAH, 5 September — Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning star Bebeto, 36, has signed a $1.5-million one-year contract to play for Al-Ittihad, Mansour Al-Balawi, a board member of the Jeddah-based club and supervisor of its football team announced on Tuesday.

Speaking to Arab News from Paris by telephone, he said Bebeto, who led the Brazilian national team to World Cup victory in 1994, will arrive in Jeddah on Monday to start training with Ittihad players.

Al-Balawi signed the contract with Bebeto in Paris on Tuesday. The news came after Bebeto announced on Aug. 28 that he had signed a deal, which would see him finish his career with Brazilian club Vasco da Gama.

Vasco denied any knowledge that Bebeto had signed for another club and said it was up to the player himself to confirm whether he had signed a contract.

"If there was a deal with a Saudi club all I can say is that Vasco will free him without any problem," Vasco da Gama spokesman Roberto Garofalo told AFP.

"His transfer to Vasco da Gama was not yet finalized and he was in the process of getting together all the necessary papers. If he wants to go to Jeddah nothing is stopping him," said Garofalo, adding that he had heard reports that Bebeto was back in Rio.

Bebeto formed the Brazilian national side’s front-line with Romario during their fourth World Cup win in 1994. He also played at the 1990 and 1998 World Cup finals and the 1996 Olympic Games.

"Bebeto is a gift from me to Ittihad fans," Al-Balawi told Arab News, adding that another international player would also join the club shortly.

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